The principles of moving and handling

manual handling courses

The principles of moving and handling

The principles of safe moving and handling we base our training on are the Efficient Movement Principles.

These principles are supported by science of Biomechanics and are the cornerstone of our Manual Handling Courses.

Efficient Movement Principles for moving and handling trainers and for manual handling scenarios.

Plan & Prepare

  1. Am I wearing the correct clothing and footwear?
  2. Do I need to manually handle the person or is there any equipment I can use, am I trained to use it? Is it safe to use?
  3. Can the person participate in the move?
  4. How do I move them? – Check the care plan!
  5. Do I need to move any hazards?

Postural Principles

  1. Dynamic stable base – safe placement of feet, allows movement in the direction of the move, ensures minimal rotation of the spine. The taller the person generally the wider the base required for stability. DSB may also be one foot and one knee or on both knees. Must be able to transfer body weight effectively
  2. Flex knees-slight flexion at the knees, lowers the center of gravity, reduces tension on the Lumbar spine and movement becomes easier. Bodyweight can be distributed more evenly across both your feet.
  3. Slight flexion of the hips activates the weight-bearing muscles of the body- Glutes and Quads
  4. Engage pelvic floor Muscles-important to prevent internal acute or cumulative damage
  5. Maintaining natural curves of the back-relaxed muscles will decrease the chance of muscle damage, avoid static stooping
  6. Short upper levers- ensure the COG of the object you are moving & handling is as close to your COG as possible
  7. Keep shoulders soft and relaxed- shoulders that are raised show engagement of upper back muscles
  8. Holds – People- no finger grips, use the full surface area of the palm, no handholds with thumbs engaged. Inanimate Object- comfortable grip, can you adjust handles to your height, keep hands between shoulders and waist, short levers
  9. Head in alignment -do not allow your head to move forward when you are focused on the task, keep a natural alignment to ensure there is no strain on the muscles in your neck. Avoid twisting and look ahead rather than down during the movement.


Communication with the person- have you gained consent? Have you explained the move?

With your Manager- have you checked the care plan/ risk assessment

With your colleague- who will take the lead and give the directions?

Reduce Friction

Consider the textures of both surfaces when moving someone, will the friction reduce the movement and therefore increase the effort required? Can you apply a friction-reducing device to reduce the effort required?

Use of forces

Are you in the correct postural position to enable a transfer of bodyweight and therefore create some kinetic energy? are you using the correct muscles?